Beaches are favorite vacation spots for many people. The relaxed atmosphere, warm sand and abundant sunshine all draw millions of people to the US Gulf Coast each year. For those with mobility impairments however, the beach can be a daunting and inaccessible place. Crutches, walkers and wheelchair wheels all sink miserably into sand, making just getting out to the shoreline almost impossible. Many coastal communities are trying to make their beaches more accessible with access mats, close parking and ramped boardwalks over sand dunes, and Gulf Shores, Alabama is one town that has made a commitment to accessibility. During my trip there in October I experienced first-hand how much more fun the beach can be when you can actually reach it.
Gulf Shores has made an effort in the recent renovation of their main beach area to become an accessible destination. The first thing I noticed was the ample amount of disabled parking available close to the beach access, and the wide paved sidewalks from the parking area to the sand. Continue reading